Who We Are
Wondering what this site is all about? You've come to the right place. A quick overview:
halo.bungie.org (or HBO, for us lazy ones) is a fansite devoted to the videogame Halo, made by Bungie Studios, and currently available for the Xbox, PC, and Mac. Woo! The PC port was done by Gearbox (of Half-Life: Opposing Forces fame), and the Mac version was done by Westlake Interactive (published by MacSoft).
We are NOT affiliated with Bungie Studios; we are simply fans. We didn't have any hand in building this game; we can't take credit for the cool parts, we shouldn't take the blame for the ugly parts. We're happy to answer questions (less happy if they've already been answered in our FAQ, but still civil, usually)... but please don't rant at us. If you thought you were visiting a Bungie site, check our Links page - several official pages are right up at the top. We'd give you an official address to contact them at... but there isn't one. Sorry.
On this site, you'll find an extensive FAQ about the game, a comprehensive Screenshots database, concept art, movies, music, and more... we have large collections of fan-created artwork and stories... We have sections devoted to Halo easter eggs, fun tricks you can try in the game, reader-submitted tips for getting through certain parts of the solo campaign... and we have a highly detailed and fan-enriched Halo Story site, where all manner of speculation about the backstory behind the game can be bandied about. Take a few minutes... explore. Download some wallpaper for your desktop. Read some fan fiction. Check out the cool screenies... or drop off your OWN creations; we'll add 'em as soon as we get 'em!
Hope you enjoy your stay.
- The HBO Crew
And now, a few questions I get asked on a regular basis, but that don't really belong in our Halo FAQ - consider this a 'site FAQ' or something.
Is Louis Wu your real name? Are you asian?
Louis Wu is the protagonist in Larry Niven's Ringworld (and later novels) - he is asian... and 200 years old. I'm not. My real name is Claude Errera, and until HBO, that's the ONLY name I used on the internet. When this website started, in early 1999, we knew nothing at all about Halo (it wasn't even called Halo then; we knew it by its codename, Blam) except that it would be set on a Ringworld. One of the other site founders wasn't willing to post under his own name - so we both took aliases for posting purposes; names from Ringworld seemed to make sense. ('Wirehead' was what Louis Wu had become at the beginning of The Ringworld Engineers - an addict to a tiny electrical current trickled directly into his brain.) Wirehead faded from the scene about the time that Bungie became part of Microsoft... but by then the alias 'Louis Wu' was too tied to the site to drop. In all other bungie.org pursuits, I use my real name. I'm neither asian nor 200 years old. (Others who work at HBO use aliases, as well - you didn't think Count Zero was really a count, did you? That name came from Gibson's classic.)
In hindsight, there are other novels that would have made far more appropriate choices for name sources than Ringworld - Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, for example, or Christopher Rowley's Vang books. Hindsight is 20/20, though, and we're stuck with what we've got.
Hey, that cornershot script is pretty cool! Can I get a copy?
Originally, the code for the cornershots was custom-written, in a Mac-only backend program that nobody who asked actually had access to. However, it's now a standard php script - in fact, it's a free download. Go visit Automatic Labs' Image Rotater page. Update, 5 March 2008: Automatic Labs is offline, and Hivelogic (the Image Rotater's author's current site) contains no linkages to this content any more. I'm making it available here; the only change I made to the original code is documented in the comment at the top.
Whoa - I saw you on the Halo 2 Limited Edition DVD! How can I get an invite to one of those LANfests?
This has got to be one of the most unexpected results of my participation in that video... it's fun and creepy at the same time. I've had folks track down my phone number by using the area code shown on the pizza menu my wife orders from, and call me, long distance, to ask if they can come.
First off - please realize that the fests that happen here are pretty much just your basic LANfest. A bunch of folks get together, play a lot of Halo, eat a bunch of food, and then go home. People do this every single day - there's nothing really that special about the ones here except that you've seen pictures of it on a DVD that sold 2.5 million copies.
Even before the DVD came out, there was far more interest in these fests than I could satisfy; the last one had 100 applicants for about 30 spots, and I had to send out 70 rejection notes. That sucked. Clearly, it will be worse next time - so (sadly) things will have to change; the next time is gonna be invite-only, I guess. I don't like it any more than you do - but I don't really have a choice. My house doesn't fit several hundred people in it. (And renting out a huge convention hall just wouldn't be the same thing.) I can't stop you from sending a request - but I can tell you that I doubt I'll be able to honor it, or even answer it. I'm really sorry.
To answer a few common questions: There's no real age limit at these things; we've had kids as young as 6, and adults as old as 45. The youngest children had at least one parent here. Admission is free - I provide all needed drinks and snacks and at least one meal; if someone brings food we try and collect a couple of bucks from everyone to pay for it, and if it goes on long enough, we collect for pizza or something, but there's no cover charge or anything. We always try to have some new people, and some regulars - nice to mix things up. There's no secret list you have to be on - you just have to get lucky, unfortunately.